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Lung ultrasound scanner for the detection and monitoring of Covid-19

Article published on July 28, 2020 by revistanuve.com

Researchers at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) are working on the development of a lung ultrasound scanner for the early detection and monitoring of Covid-19. The new tool will take images of the lungs and will incorporate artificial intelligence, which simplifies the interpretation of the images, with a device that is easy to use and disinfect, thus reducing the risk for the healthcare personnel. Compared to other similar technologies, this tool will offer the advantage of automatically measuring the degree of lung involvement, which will simplify the examination process and improve patient care and follow-up

The Spanish company DASEL is leading the development, which could be available by mid-2021. The goal is to extend lung ultrasound to a wider range of professionals and services, from primary care to intensive care.

“It is a very specific tool for the evaluation of pulmonary condition at all stages of the disease, including potential chronic problems in the medium and long term,» explains Jorge Camacho, CSIC researcher at the Institute of Physical and Information Technologies (ITEFI-CSIC).

“In addition, it would be useful for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with other lung pathologies and in certain groups where X-rays and CT scans are contraindicated (pediatric patients, pregnant women, etc.),» explains the researcher Tomás Gómez, also from ITEFI-CSIC. «This technology could have a very positive impact, since it would improve the healthcare system’s capacity to care for Covid-19 patients.”

The ultrasound scanner, which includes automatic diagnostic algorithms developed by CSIC researchers, will be developed by the Arganda del Rey based company  DASEL, which specializes in ultrasound technology.  The CSIC’s Ultrasonic Systems and Technologies Group (GSTU-ITEFI- CSIC), the  Nuclear Physics Group of the Complutense University of Madrid (GFN-UCM) and Universitario La Paz Hospital are also participating. The proposal is being supported by the Center for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) for the extraordinary aid for R&D projects to deal with the Covid-19 health emergency

The objective of the ULTRACOV project is the development of an ultrasound scanner for the early detection and monitoring of the COVID-19 disease, specially designed for pandemic situations and high healthcare pressure. Through interactive artificial intelligence tools that simplify the performance of the examination process and the interpretation of the images, and a design oriented towards operation in high-risk conditions (easy disinfection, ergonomics, etc.), the goal is to extend lung ultrasound to a greater number of professionals and services, from primary care to intensive care. The impact on the capacity of the healthcare system for the care of COVID-19 patients would be very positive, since it is a very specific tool for the assessment of pulmonary condition at all stages of the disease, including potential chronic problems in the medium and long term. In addition, it would be useful for the diagnosis and care of patients with other potentially serious lung pathologies in certain groups (pediatric patients, pregnant women, etc.).